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Nature Houses: Living Gently on Earth, Part 2 of 2

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At the present time, having gone through a period of building skyscrapers of steel and concrete that are resource-intensive and harmful to the environment, the trend of returning to nature is rising among architects and builders. Let’s take a look at some of their ingenious new ideas.

E’terra Samara is a five-star eco-resort in the South Bruce Peninsula, Toronto, Canada, designed in 2013 by Farrow Partnership Architects Inc. The design was inspired by the shape of the samara fruit, which has a seed in the middle surrounded by four paper-thin wings that help the seeds to fly far away from the tree when they fall. This project emphasizes the importance of promoting biophilic design and profiles the harmonization of humans and the environment. It’s the winner of the 2013 Canadian Architect Award of Excellence for sustainable design.

The Earth House located in Dietikon, Switzerland, built by Swiss architect Peter Vetsch, reminds us of natural builder Simon Dale’s Hobbit House in Wales. The complex consists of a series of connected earth-covered eco-friendly houses that enclose an artificial body of water. The Earth House requires no air conditioning in the hot summer days because the roof, composed of vegetation, reduces the heat by 70% and water vapors from the central pond act to cool down the air. The house needs no heating system on cold days, as the closed structure keeps the heat inside. This typical energy-saving, eco-friendly house is a perfect representation of biophilic architecture - living and designing in harmony with nature.

The engineer for the Hotel Kakslauttanen has revealed a new way to construct igloos in Lapland, near Finland’s Urho Kekkonen National Park. Special thermal glass covers the roof of the igloos, allowing the residents to view the Aurora Borealis or Northern lights at night. This glass is designed to keep the heat within the structure and to stay clean and clear even in -22-degree Fahrenheit (-30 degree Celsius) conditions.

Supreme Master Ching Hai has always been fond of living in nature, and She encourages our Association members to try to meditate outside as much as possible for spiritual reasons as well. “Nature is helping you a lot. Or even with animal-people, easier to concentrate than with the crowded city. Fresh air. Sit under the tree.”
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